The Forger's Apprentice

In the late 1960s Elmyr (pronounced el-MEER) de Hory was the world's most talented-and most successful art forger— ever. For over 20 years his bogus masterpieces filtered into prestigious collections on five continents. In 1967 his chicanery ended in a scandal that rocked the art world, although this monocle-wearing charmer's artful pretense did not end there. He seduced most everyone he met, counting Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Rita Hayworth, and Orson Welles among his friends. As a young American Midwesterner, I fell under his spell when I met Elmyr in 1969 on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, becoming his personal assistant while he became my mentor and closest friend. His hilltop villa was my university where, beyond the glamour of the rich and famous, the people I met seemed to spring from the mind of Lewis Carroll. Elmyr also had deeper secrets than anyone knew.

The Forger’s Apprentice offers a unique behind-the-curtain view of de Hory’s Kafka-meets-Marx Bothers world of art, deception, misplaced trust, betrayal, greed, money—and search for the truth by his friend and protégé. This engaging memoir adds surprising revelations to our body of knowledge of a man long shrouded by mystery and a mythology of his own making, finally segregating fact from fiction.

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